Emirates is to add a third daily flight to London Gatwick to counter the effect of forced capacity cuts on its Heathrow operations. The Dubai-based airline will serve Gatwick with an additional Boeing 777-300 aircraft with space for as many as 360 additional passengers per day.
The extra flight will only operate for one week from July 27 to August 3, coinciding with the start of the summer school holidays across the UK and what is expected to be a peak travel period for Emirates.
Emirates initially refused to comply with a demand by Heathrow to slash passenger capacity due to resourcing challenges at the West London airport but eventually agreed to cap further sales until mid-August.
The airline hasn’t revealed its average load factor (the number of available seats that had been sold) on affected flights so it’s difficult to know how many passengers were potentially displaced by the capacity cap.
Emirates clearly believes there is enough last-minute demand to make 2,520 seats available with little notice. The airline previously said it wasn’t “realistic” to move some passenger operations from Heathrow to other airports.
“Emirates’ customers impacted by capacity adjustments at London Heathrow will be contacted directly by the airline or their travel agent,” the airline said, suggesting that it had performed a u-turn and would now comply with Heathrow’s “unreasonable and unacceptable” demands to offload existing passengers from some of its services.
“The airline is working closely with its travel partners to re-accommodate any impacted bookings and ensure smooth onward flight connections for customers to reach their planned destination,” the statement continued.
Last week, Emirates slammed Heathrow after it was given just 36 hours’ notice to cut capacity on its six daily Airbus A380 superjumbo flights to Dubai. An airline spokesperson said the carrier had enough ground staff in place at Heathrow to deal with anticipated demand.
Emirates previously insisted that ticketed passengers could travel as booked.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt’s industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.